Do Your Part. It’s Enough.

There’s so much pain in the world. How can I possibly make a difference?  

As a mission-driven business owner, these are the questions I ask myself daily. I’m sure you have your own version, no matter where you live or what you do.

I’m wrestling with that very question right now. It’s Monday, and two peices of hard news came in just as I was settling in to the work day: another police killing of an unarmed Black man (this time in the suburbs of my hometown Minneapolis), and a weekend COVID death of the relative of someone I hold dear.

Clearly, any shock I feel is tiny compared to those experiencing these tragedies. But collective trauma is real, and each of us has our own shared reaction to a horrific event in our community.


MAPPING YOUR ROLE IN THE SOCIAL JUSTICE ECOSYSTEM

Powerlessness is natural and common, as you surely already know. You may be wondering, “How can I do anything that’s even close to being enough?”

One day last fall when I was sensing this dejection, a friend texted and said, “You’re doing more than you think.” She’d attached an infographic that would come to change my perspective going foward.

“You’re a weaver and a guide,” she said. “Don’t underestimate your value.”
 
I quickly learned the infographic was created by Deepa Iyer, a South Asian American writer, strategist, lawyer, and racial justice advocate.

As she points out in her piece, “Mapping Our Social Change Roles in Times of Crisis,” everyone has a place in the ecosystem of social justice. It’s just a matter of identifying ours, then doing something about it.

“Many of us play different roles in pursuit of equity, shared liberation, inclusion, and justice,” Iyer says. “And yet, we often get lost and confused, or we are newcomers to ongoing social change efforts and don’t know where to start, or we are catalyzed into action in the midst of a crisis in our community.”

Her description resonated with me, and my hope is that it’ll inspire you, too.
WHAT’S YOUR ROLE?

Iyer’s description resonated with me, and I appreciated her vulnerability about feeling “stuck in a fog, cylcling through feelings of motivation and stillness.”

As a career educator, I loved the fact that she provided a Reflection Guide to help people like us figure out how to “get in right relationship” with our values and roles.

It’s easy for any of us to think the things we’re good at are no big deal. In my case, it’s normal to think in terms of teaching classes. Anytime I learn something new, I say to myself, “Ooh, I’d love to turn that into a workshop!”

Though I once devalued my role as an educator, I no longer allow this mindset to cloud my thinking. First of all, my skill as a curriculum writer has proven to be a differentiator in the marketplace.

Running my own business has given me new powerful new ways to use my education background in our ecosystem of social justice.

Guides teach, counsel, and advise, and Weavers connect the dots between people and ideas.

So, what’s your role? What’s one thing you can do this week to take action?

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